Appeals court: Woman failed to prove fall on icy stairs caused by Chicago apartment building's faulty gutters

By John Breslin | Nov 26, 2018

CHICAGO – A woman who claimed her fall on the back steps of an apartment building was caused by an unnatural accumulation of ice has failed in her appeal to overturn a judge's decision in favor of the building owners.

Plaintiff Leslie Cole sued Paper Street Group and Paper Street Realty, the owners of the building on South Kimbark in Chicago, alleging she was injured when she slipped and fell on the building's stairs in 2014, and accusing the owners of failing to fix faulty gutters which caused ice to accumulate on the stairs.

A Cook County circuit judge issued summary judgment in favor of the defendants, and Cole appealed.

But the defendants, in an argument asking the Appeals Court to affirm the dismissal, said Cole's complaint was based on “mere speculation and conjecture."

There was no evidence, it continued, to support allegations that faulty gutters caused an unnatural accumulation of ice on the stairs. Cole claimed the faulty gutters created icicles, which melted and caused the ice.

In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Robert Gordon and issued Nov. 1, the appeals panel stated that "no witness testified, and no evidence was presented, that icicles regularly formed from the gutters and dripped onto the steps to freeze into ice."

Justices Jesse Reyes and Eileen O'Neill Burke concurred in the ruling.

"As a result, plaintiff failed to provide any evidence that the icicles caused the ice that plaintiff slipped on. Accordingly, we cannot find that the trial court erred in finding that plaintiff had not provided evidence that she slipped on an unnatural accumulation of ice based on faulty gutters," Gordon wrote.

The justices also rejected the plaintiff's assertion the lower court abused its discretion by denying a motion to reconsider.

According to Cook County court records, Cole is represented by the Vrdolyak Law Group LLC, of Chicago.

Paper Street is represented by Tressler LLP, of Chicago.

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Organizations in this Story

Circuit Court of Cook County IL Appellate Court 1st District/Jud Tressler LLP Vrdolyak Law Group Llc

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